Lone Ruin | Windows PC Review
Lone Ruin, developed by Cuddle Monster Games and published by Super Rare Games (under their Super Rare Originals label), is a twin-stick shooter, roguelike game. It is currently available on Windows PC and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the Windows PC version.
Lone Ruin puts you in the shoes of an explorer who is seeking out a mysterious power that is found within the ruins of an ancient city. This city was built upon a source of magic that was used by the ancient mages who used it to transform themselves. You must fight your way through a range of enemies and epic boss battles throughout the districts of the ancient city. It is very much a typical roguelike. You begin by picking one ability out of a variety of spells, then enter the first room, fight the first horde of enemies and then you choose which upgrade you want next and progress into the next room. Rinse and repeat. Like with any good roguelike, there is always a great balance of risk versus reward, you can opt to gain a new ability or level up an existing one, or if you're running low on health you could opt for a room to top that up.
One thing that makes a roguelike very appealing is the massive skill gap that it requires to beat the game and complete that first run, however, I found Lone Ruin to be a little too simple and easy for my likings and the challenge didn’t really extend terribly far for me. This meant that I didn’t find myself invested in the game at all and felt little to no motivation to continue to play. Simplicity isn’t a bad thing in the slightest bit, however, in the case of Lone Ruin it certainly felt like it ruined it for me. Other than wanting to beat other people's scores on the leaderboards, there appears to be very little replayability which is a massive shame compared to other roguelikes that have me constantly wanting to come back for more.
Visually, I really appreciated Lone Ruin. I really liked the hybrid between voxel and traditional pixel art and the blue and purple backdrop was aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately this is about as far as it goes for me, because, despite the unique art style, the world felt very hollow and empty to me and eventually all the worlds began to feel the exact same with nothing unique or new offered between them all. Alongside this, the enemies all began to feel like they were a rinse and repeat of each other so there was little variety in that respect either. Along with the visuals, the soundtrack was also great but only in small doses because it quickly all became a little bit repetitive and quite annoying, so I spent most of each session with the volume off or very low.
One thing I don’t like to do, is review a game poorly because it isn’t X or Y game, however, in the case of roguelikes, there is one game that sets itself apart and defines the genre and sets a massive benchmark for any other game in this genre. I’m sure you know what I’m about to say… no? Well… Hades. Unfortunately, for anyone wanting to break into the roguelike genre, Hades has set a massive precedent for many gamers as to what constitutes a great roguelike and unfortunately, Lone Ruin and many others fall short of these standards. This paragraph totally breaks all the rules I have for my reviews. I don’t like to complain because X game isn’t Hades.. But the roguelike genre has its king, and it is Hades. Will another game come around and knock it off the throne? Of course it will and when that happens I’ll be waiting eagerly and should I be fortunate enough to review said game, I’ll do so with glee.
Overall, Lone Ruin was fun for a little while before it became too much of the same thing and became a little bit plain for my liking. The roguelike genre seems like one that's incredibly difficult to break into with so much quality competition. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a whole lot here that sets Lone Ruin apart from other roguelikes which made it fairly forgettable for me which is a shame.
Lj's Rating: 2 out of 5.
For more information on Lone Ruin please use the following links...
Cuddle Monster Games - Developer
Many thanks to Super Rare Games for the Review Key.